Playerunknown's Battlegrounds player banned for team-killing a team-killer

Earlier this week, a popular Playerunknown's Battlegrounds streamer named Dr. DisRespect was temporarily banned from the game for killing his teammates. His celebrity didn't save him: As Playerunknown himself said on Twitter, "If you break the rules in PUBattlegrounds, no matter who you are, you're gonna have a bad time!" And as a player by the name of sxk7 (on Reddit) discovered, that policy is not flexible.

The trouble started, sxk7 explained, when he and two friends were assigned a random teammate to fill out their squad. But after landing at Novo, "all of a sudden our random queued teammate just killed my 2 friends and he was coming for me next," he wrote. "Obviously I tried to defend myself because I wasn't just going to let this guy kill my entire team and go on with the game. I managed to kill him and just left the game shortly after because there was no point in playing anymore." 

Sxk7 filed a report, backed up by video, and very quickly received a response from an admin. Unfortunately, the response was not quite was he was expecting. "Thank you for submitting a report. I'd like to inform you that the user reported has been temporarily banned," the admin said. "According to the Rules of Conduct you were given a 3 day as well for team killing. Next time, don't kill them and just submit it." 

(The killing starts around 2:18.)

A little later, according to this thread, PUBG community manager Slyvinlisha justified the ban, saying that if players don't want to be "grieved" then they should turn off auto-matchmaking.

"[Sxk7] was AWAY from his friends and the TK'er, it's an 8x8 map," Slyvinlisha wrote. "If he wanted to go on w/o his friends he could've gone away but he didn't. He turned around, went to the TK'er, killed him and quit the game. He also broke the rules!"

And that's true—there's no question that both players broke the clear and simple rules against team-killing. But on the surface of it, at least, there's also little doubt that the circumstances were different: The first player was presumably just out to be a jerk, while sxk7 was understandably upset at having his game ruined, and as much as such a thing can be said to exist within the context of a videogame, was defending himself against a hostile player.   

Interestingly, Playerunknown has put up a couple of tweets recently stating that players will only be banned for "malicious team killing." But the definition of "malicious" seems to refer to anything that isn't either pre-arranged, as we saw in this marvelous gong show, or accidental. In fact, the rules of conduct state specifically that "there is no excuse for non-accidental team kills," and warns that TKers should be reported, not killed. 

This incident, and the Dr. DisRespect disagreement, make me wonder if maybe Bluehole will be forced to reconsider its approach to team-killers in the future. One idea (which, for the record, is not mine) would be to simply auto-tag TKers based on the frequency of their offenses, and let the situation work itself out naturally. Habitual killers will eventually be unable to find anyone willing to team up with them, and will either straighten themselves out, or go away—all without requiring any intervention, or interpretation, on the part of the developers or admins.

Right now, though, the bottom line is this: If you don't want to eat a ban in PUBG, don't kill your teammates.   

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.